Latasha and I attended Bishop Kenny High School together. I didn’t really know her well. This wasn’t because she’s black and I’m white. It’s because she was smart and athletic and in different classes and social circles than me. She was the girl who ran towards the ball and I was the one who ran away from it. As the Captain of the 1990 Girls’ Basketball State Championship Team, Latasha did plenty of running towards the ball.
These were not differences based on race but just on who we are as individuals. Admittedly, I didn’t think much about race back then. I could tell you this was because I was thinking about boys or passing algebra but it’s just as much because I didn’t see how it affected me. And, no matter your skin color, racial injustice affects us all. Mostly, it goes against Jesus’s message to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
In her volunteer role as the Chair of the Task Force on Diversity at Bishop Kenny High School, she works with the school to deepen the level of understanding of racial diversity and inclusion that reflects the tenets of our Christian faith. “Bishop Kenny is in a unique position to combat this hatred and promote diversity and inclusion because it is educating the next generation of leaders. We must ensure that our children understand the history that created barriers for people of color and the need for intentionality when addressing issues around race,” Latasha said. “We cannot be afraid to tackle this issue head-on. We are all charged with standing on our Christian principles and truly trying to figure out how to make an impact in our daily lives. Our children are listening to and watching us.”
Differences don’t need to divide us. Living our faith doesn’t look the same for all of us but it must include all of us. I love the way Latasha is serving God and her neighbor while also giving back to our high school that she has such a heart for. When we spoke, Latasha said, “We don’t understand, what we don’t understand.” And, while that may sound like a riddle to the complicated dynamics of race in our country, it’s an explanation that unlike a ball thrown at me doesn’t make me want to run away as much as reach out – so that I may begin to understand.
Note from me: One of the reasons I wrote my new book, Simple Mercies, is because oftentimes I think we fail to recognize the way small acts of kindness can make a difference. For the next few weeks, I’m highlighting simple ways that others are sharing mercy as an organic part of their daily life. If you or someone you know would like to participate in this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your own story of mercy. If you would like to learn more about the ways that mercy can bring peace and fulfillment to your life while answering God’s call to serve, preorder Simple Mercies, at this Amazon link or San Marco book store http://Bit.ly/PatanganSMB ~ love, Lara